Conservation of globally important biodiversity and associated land and forest resources of Western Tian Shan mountain ecosystems to support sustainable livelihoods

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2022, Kyrgyzstan
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
12/2019
Completion Date:
12/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
21,887

The Western Tian Shan is one of the world’s 200 priority ecoregions and one of 34 global biodiversity hotspots, and has been designated as a natural World Heritage Site. The Tian Shan act as a bridge connecting fauna and flora of Himalayas and Hindu Kush across Pamir with biota of Siberia, and across Dzungar Ala-Tau and Altay with biota of Mongolia, which results in a unique combination of fauna and flora elements. In the Western Tian Shan, fauna and flora are characterized by high diversity and concentration in a relatively small area. In terms of flora, higher plants number more than 2,500 species, and endemism of the flora is 12%; vertebrates number well over 400 species. However, many of the Western Tian Shan’s species and unique ecosystems are threatened by poor forest and land management; the region is home to 54 Red List plant species, and 27 Red List species of fauna, including the snow leopard. The forests of Western Tian Shan have juniper, spruce, maple, nut, fruit, and tugai forest communities, including fruit and nut wild relatives, but the regions forest resources are shrinking. These forests suffer from inadequate forest management and enforcement, and are degraded by intensive land use, such as overgrazing of forest pastures. The rate of natural regeneration and reforestation is unable to keep pace with the rate of forest degradation. The grassland areas of the Western Tian Shan are subject to extensive, uncontrolled agro-pastoral land use. Growing livestock numbers lead to extensive unregulated use of mountainous grasslands for grazing and causes high disturbance to wild ungulates such as argali and ibex, key snow leopard prey species. The rangelands of Western Tian Shan are susceptible to overgrazing, droughts, and inadequate natural regeneration in the face of these pressures. Today, over 60% of pastures in Western Tian are eroded and the quality of pastures has declined by four times compared to 1980s levels.

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Title Conservation of globally important biodiversity and associated land and forest resources of Western Tian Shan mountain ecosystems to support sustainable livelihoods
Atlas Project Number: 00101450
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2022, Kyrgyzstan
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 12/2019
Planned End Date: 12/2019
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.4.1 Solutions scaled up for sustainable management of natural resources, including sustainable commodities and green and inclusive value chains
Evaluation Budget(US $): 21,887
Source of Funding: GEF
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 21,887
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
GEF Evaluation: Yes
GEF Project Title: Conservation of globally important biodiversity and associated land and forest resources of Western Tian Shan mountain ecosystems to support sustainable livelihoods
Evaluation Type: Mid-term Review
Focal Area: Biodiversity
Project Type: FSP
GEF Phase: GEF-1
GEF Project ID: 6958
PIMS Number: 5411
Key Stakeholders: State Agency for Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic
Countries: KYRGYZSTAN
Comments:

Mr. Bellamy Jean-Joseph, International Consultant

Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

It is recommended to conduct a capacity assessment and allocate project resources to consolidate capacities during the remaining implementation period of the project.

2

It is recommended to conduct feasibility studies in the two SNPs to identify the potential for diversifying sources of income, including development of ecotourism and potential impact on local livelihoods.

3

The recommendation is well noted and will follow up under the AWP 2020.

4

It is recommended to conduct a strategic review of the overall PA network in Kyrgyzstan; including its legislation, management arrangements and roles and responsibilities.

5

It is recommended to increase the participation of key stakeholders in the procurement of project goods and services.

6

It is recommended to monitor the financial status of the project and request a no-cost time extension of the project if the GEF grant will not be expended by December 2021.

7

It is recommended to review co-financing commitments and request yearly estimates from Partners of the project.

8

It is recommended to add and monitor a political risk to the project risk log.

1. Recommendation:

It is recommended to conduct a capacity assessment and allocate project resources to consolidate capacities during the remaining implementation period of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

The recommendation is well noted, and UNDP will discuss it at the upcoming project board meeting to consider putting a greater emphasis on implementation of the Capacity building plan of the State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry. And as recommended by the Evaluator the Project will revise the project budget.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Convene the project board meeting and discuss the proposed recommendations.
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2019/12 Completed State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry (SAEPF) proposed to support capacity building plan for PAs and action was included into AWP 2020.
Jointly with other partners World Bank, GIZ, FAO project developed Capacity building plan for SAEPF. The project will support with implementation of the Capacity Building plan for PAs and in 2020 series of trainings are planned. All training modules /materials to be developed under this activity will also contribute to enhancing the capacity of the mobile training centre of the Frunze Forestry.
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
Study tours are planned on HVCF, PA and scientific activities.
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
The new Electronic-PA management system will include a feature on capacity building and modules for PA specialists
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

It is recommended to conduct feasibility studies in the two SNPs to identify the potential for diversifying sources of income, including development of ecotourism and potential impact on local livelihoods.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

The recommendation is well noted, and UNDP will continue discussions with the partners to ensure the development of sustainable finance mechanisms for SNPs so that they sustain after the project is over. Jointly with the other UNDP projects as Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and Aid for Trade the Project has been exploring opportunities for best sustainable finance solutions for the State National Parks. As we share the same pilot territory with the Aid for Trade project we are planning to collaborate on beekeeping and tourism development.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Potential and immediate solutions are birdwatching and ecotourism and scientific tourism
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2021/12 Initiated
Project will also contribute to the work of BIOFIN project on establishment of Biodiversity Conservation Trust Fund to mobilize additional financial resources for biodiversity conservation
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
Jointly with the Aid for Trade project the mechanisms of effective cooperation with Tour operators based on appropriate agreements and services in the Pas will be developed and tested
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
Explore and facilitate philanthropic donations to support the State Nature Parks “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay”
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2021/12 Initiated
Increase entrance fees and develop plans to improve the touristic infrastructure in the State Nature Parks “Kan-Achuu” and “Alatay”
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
3. Recommendation:

The recommendation is well noted and will follow up under the AWP 2020.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

The recommendation is well noted and will follow up under the AWP 2020.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop new management plans for Alatai and Kan-Achuu SNPs taking into account METT and other tools
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated Included into AWP 2020
Development of the E-PA system will also contribute to this recommendation
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
The Capacity building plan developed for SAEPF also includes some training activities to increase understanding of PA management on relevant areas
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
4. Recommendation:

It is recommended to conduct a strategic review of the overall PA network in Kyrgyzstan; including its legislation, management arrangements and roles and responsibilities.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

The recommendation is noted. The newly established Department of the Biodiversity and PAs under the SAEPF needs capacity building support. In line with the new changes to the Public Budgeting joint activities will be implemented with the BIOFIN Project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Convene the project board meeting and discuss the proposed recommendations.
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2019/12 Completed
Support SAEPF’s staff with implementation of the National priorities on Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan, National Strategy of Snow Leopard Conservation, including the topics of conflict management and community engagement
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
Support SAEPF with development of a Concept of PAs development in Kyrgyzstan for 2020-2040
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2021/12 Initiated
Improving the procedures of budgeting and execution by protected areas and forestry enterprises
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
Scaling up the performance based budgeting for PAs
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
5. Recommendation:

It is recommended to increase the participation of key stakeholders in the procurement of project goods and services.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

Recommendation is well noted, and project will consider this in line with the UNDP rules and procedures. Project has been discussing ToRs and plans with relevant departments of SAEPF to secure coordination, their participation and ownership. Thus all ToRs and specifications have been cleared by the National partners.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Convene the project board meeting and discuss the proposed recommendations.
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
Involve Finance unit of SAEPF and one representative from respective Departments depending on the nature of procurement
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2021/12 Initiated
6. Recommendation:

It is recommended to monitor the financial status of the project and request a no-cost time extension of the project if the GEF grant will not be expended by December 2021.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

This potential risk of not being able to spend GEF grants was caused by the belated project launch and some repeated procurement activities. Despite the volatility of the situation the Project team has been doing its best to put the project implementation back on track and will continue these efforts to ensure budget utilization by the project closure date. But it should be noted there are still activities falling beyond project’s full control like ranger houses’ construction works and implementation of alternative livelihoods program.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Discuss with the Project Board members proposed recommendations.
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project perosnnel 2020/12 Initiated
Draft request for no-cost time extension of the project to IRH with valid and strong justifications
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2020/12 Initiated
7. Recommendation:

It is recommended to review co-financing commitments and request yearly estimates from Partners of the project.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

Recommendation is accepted and well noted. Will update at all project boards.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Project will collect information quarterly and monitor all commitments
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2021/12 Initiated
The issues around co-financing will be discussed during the Project Board
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2019/12 Completed
Review the BIOFIN’s report and keep in touch with the Ministry of Finance to double check commitments from the State Budget
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2021/12 Initiated
8. Recommendation:

It is recommended to add and monitor a political risk to the project risk log.

Management Response: [Added: 2020/01/02]

The recommendation is well noted. This would be a very important and critical risk for the project if occurs. As the country is now getting prepared for the parliament elections in  2020 it is obvious that following the elections changes in local authorities are expected. Therefore, the project team will concentrate its capacity building activities onto the SAEPF to live through and avoid potential risks.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
This will be added to the risk log and monitored by the project. And it will also be reported in the next PIR.
[Added: 2020/01/02]
CO, Project personnel 2021/12 Initiated

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